Reading Recovery Europe


Impact of Reading Recovery within a large urban school (case study 1)

Ripple Primary is a large school with over 1,100 pupils in Barking & Dagenham, north east London; a region with a high concentration of deprivation. The school occupies two sites, and it has up to six forms in each year group. The school has very high pupil mobility; less than 75% of Year 6 pupils in 2012-13 had attended the school throughout Key Stage 2. It is also characterised by a very wide ethnic mix and multiple first languages; less than a third of the pupils have English as their first language, and around fifty languages are spoken in all. The constant churn and the differing backgrounds and abilities of the intake combine to present significant challenges in reading.

Reading Recovery commenced with a single staff member in 2011; it was clear, however, that this alone was an insufficient resource to address the scale of need amidst such rapid growth. Furthermore, a limited Reading Recovery programme would not deliver, in isolation, sufficient advances in reading across the whole school. To maximise impact, additional teachers have been recruited and their remit extended to include a programme of literacy support to all staff and all classes.

The school now has two fully qualified Reading Recovery teachers and a further teacher in training. Twelve children participate in the main Reading Recovery programme at a time, but the intervention and impact goes much further than this. The team has delivered focused reading sessions to all staff, providing training and support for pupil assessment through benchmarking; and set sharper and more meaningful targets. They have introduced reading folders to each class to bring uniformity to planning and assessments.

The team has introduced using the observation survey to assess children from any class whose reading progress gives cause for concern. They look to overcome the issues and set smart targets going forward, monitoring the children's progress regularly, and then set new targets. Literacy assessments have been developed for inclusion in the initial induction process for newly arrived pupils, helping them to participate fully in class at the earliest opportunity.

The team has engaged with parents, to gain the benefits from involving them closely in reading in the school. Parents are invited to watch Reading Recovery lessons and guided reading sessions. Better Reading Partners training has been provided to teaching assistants, thus enabling work with the reading team to assess and support children on the programme. Progress has been good.

The school now benefits from an integrated and co-ordinated literacy programme involving staff, pupils and parents. Achievement is evidenced by the fact that nearly 70% of the children seen more than once made the expected progress or bettered it; all but two of the remainder moved up book levels. For Reading Recovery, 62.5% achieved level 2+ in reading and 75% in writing at the end of Key Stage 1. Sustaining the improvement will be assisted by the qualification of the third member of the team and by the enthusiastic participation of all involved, throughout the school.